No person shall drive a taxicab and no person shall permit anyone to drive a taxicab within the limits of the City of North Tonawanda without such driver or owner having first obtained and paid for and having in force and effect a taxicab license under the provisions of this chapter.
Vehicles operated as part of the bus transportation system or operating with permission of the Interstate Commerce Commission, ambulances, vehicles used by undertakers in the conduct of their business and vehicles rented for the purpose of being driven by the person renting the same shall be exempt from the provisions of this chapter.
Each applicant for a taxicab license must comply with the following, to the satisfaction of the City Clerk.
The applicant must first have obtained a New York State chauffeur's license.
The applicant must provide the following information on an application to be provided by the City Clerk:
The name, residence and age of the owner of the taxicab.
The manufacturer and type of vehicle to be used, the serial number, the New York State license number, the year of manufacture and the seating capacity of the vehicle.
A photocopy of the applicant's New York State chauffeur's license.
The date, location and expiration of the taxicab's most recent inspection pursuant to § 306(b) of the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law.
Whether the vehicle has been previously licensed to operate as a taxicab and, if so, for what year or years and in what municipality. If an inspection exemption is being sought, the applicant must provide a copy of any other valid taxicab license he may hold.
Whether the applicant has previously held an owner's license and if said license has ever been revoked, and, if so, for what cause.
Number of taxicab licenses desired by the applicant.
Whether or not the applicant has ever been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor.
The application shall be signed and sworn to by the applicant and filed with the City Clerk as a permanent record.
Any false statements contained in such application for a taxicab license shall be cause for refusing the license or revoking the license after it is issued.
Any person, including but not limited to City officials, who is aware or becomes aware of any false statement made by an applicant shall promptly report the alleged false statement made by an applicant to the Chief of Police who shall take the appropriate action.
The City Clerk is hereby authorized and empowered to require such additional information as he may deem necessary.
The applicant shall, at the time of the filing of his application, provide a certificate of insurance showing that the applicant has automobile insurance covering property damage and bodily injury. The policy shall indicate that notice of cancellation shall be given to the City of North Tonawanda at least 10 days prior to the same. Further, the applicant, by signature of the permit form, will agree to hold and save the City harmless from any and all damages and/or causes of action which may arise from his or her operating a taxicab within the City of North Tonawanda.
The license holder shall sign an application indicating that he agrees to hold the City harmless for any and all damages or suits or causes of action arising out of his operating a taxicab within the City.
The City Clerk shall cause the motor vehicle described in the application to be inspected and the taximeter attached thereto to be tested. The motor vehicle must be found to be clean and in proper condition for the safe transportation of passengers and the taximeter attached thereto, upon test, must be found to register correctly.
Inspection waiver. No motor vehicle inspection shall be required where the applicant can provide sufficient proof to the satisfaction of the City Clerk that said vehicle is properly licensed and said taxi, as well as its taximeter have been subject to inspection in one of the following municipalities:
If a vehicle has been involved in an accident causing physical damage so as to violate the above vehicle standards, it shall not be automatically excluded from service if the vehicle can still be operated safely. The taxicab owner shall have 24 hours to have the vehicle evaluated by the Police Department in order to determine if the vehicle should be taken out of service or to determine the exact date repairs will be made. If a vehicle is taken out of service on account of the police inspection of damage, the taxicab owner shall be notified in writing.
Once an applicant's motor vehicle has passed inspection, the taximeter attached thereto shall be sealed. No sealing is required where a taximeter hears a valid seal from the City of Niagara Falls, City of Buffalo or City of Tonawanda certifying that it is in proper working order. The City Clerk shall securely affix to such licensed taxicab on the outside thereof at the rear of the vehicle, in a conspicuous place, a metal plate, showing the number assigned to such taxicab.
Taxicab driver's license. The taxicab driver's license shall be in such form as to contain the photograph, the signature and a description of the driver. Each driver's license shall be stamped with the Seal of the City upon at least a portion of the photograph. All driver's licenses shall be numbered in the order in which they are issued and shall contain the name and place of residence of the licensee and the date of issuance and the expiration of the license. Any licensee who defaces, removes or obliterates any official entry made upon his license shall be subject to the revocation of his license. The taxicab license shall be displayed by the licensee at all times when driving or operating or while in charge of any taxicab.
The licensing of such vehicle should be subject, however, to the following conditions:
An owner who drives his own cab may place the words "owner driver" on the outside of the front doors thereof immediately below the windows in letters contrasting strongly with the color of the vehicle, not less than two inches high. However, taxicabs so marked must be operated by no one other than the licensed owner under penalty of having the license suspended or revoked.
No person shall drive or operate upon the streets of the City any passenger automobile with a seating capacity in the interior thereof for seven or fewer passengers and registered as an omnibus by the State of New York, while such vehicle has a taximeter or unusual or distinctive equipment, device, design, color, numbers or lettering liable to deceive the public that such vehicle is a licensed taxicab as above provided, unless such vehicle is duly licensed under this section.
The mileage rates fixed by this chapter shall be displayed on each taxicab so as to be readily visible to passengers entering the vehicle. The rates shall be painted in a contrasting color on both rear doors of all licensed taxicabs in letters and figures which shall be not less than 3/8 of an inch in height.
A taxicab may have illuminated advertising billboards, placards or similar devices, no larger than 18 inches high by four feet six inches long, attached securely to the roof or trunk of the vehicle, not to exceed the length or width of such roof or trunk.
Each applicant for a taxicab driver's license must file with his application two unmounted, unretouched photographs of himself in such position as the City Clerk may direct, taken within 30 days preceding the filing of his application. Photographs shall be two by two inches in size. One photograph shall be attached to the license when issued, and the others shall be filed with the application. The photograph shall be so attached to the license so that it cannot be removed and another photograph substituted without detection. Each licensed driver shall, upon demand, exhibit his license and photograph for inspection. When the application for a taxicab driver's license is denied, the photographs shall be returned to the applicant by the City Clerk.
Driver's licenses. The fee for a taxicab driver's license shall be the sum of $20 per annum, and no license fee shall be prorated. For replacing a lost license or damaged license, the fee shall be $10.
Vehicle fees. The fee to operate a vehicle as a taxicab in the City of North Tonawanda shall be the sum of $50 per annum, and no license fee shall be prorated. The above vehicle fee shall apply to all taxicabs operating in the City of North Tonawanda unless the taxicab is part of a fleet. If a taxicab is operating as part of a fleet, the fleet operation fees shall apply.
Fleet operation fees:
The fee to operate a fleet of taxicabs (five or more) in the City of North Tonawanda shall be the sum of $500 per annum, and no fleet fee shall be prorated.
An additional fee of $10 per car shall be assessed on fleets operating 11 or more taxicabs. The fee of $10 shall be assessed to each taxicab, starting with the 11th vehicle of the fleet, per annum, and no fee shall be prorated.
Late fees: Failure to renew a driver's license or fleet fee within 30 days of its expiration shall double the cost of the original fee.
Preexisting licenses. Any owner or driver properly licensed in the City of North Tonawanda prior to the enactment of this chapter shall not be required to relicense until January 1, 2003.
Taxicab licenses shall be issued as of January 1 of each year, and all of said licenses shall expire on the last day of December of such year, unless sooner suspended or revoked. Any owner to whom a license is issued during the license year shall pay the full amount of the annual license.